Trip on Jasper starting 2015-10-02 in BSAOct15
Palma, Mallorca on ‘Jasper’, October 2-9 2015 – report by Sue Fowle.
Skipper – Phil Steele.
Jasper was a Bavaria Cruiser 46 with 4 cabins although the forepeaks were really only for one and a half people! It was in reasonable condition, had a small jib, a furling main like Quartette, bow thrusters and holding tanks that worked!. There were some problems with the batteries not holding their charge and as on many charter boats there were few long lines just heavy, salty, black warps.
Despite a misunderstanding on the part of the navigator between passage planning and navigation Skipper agreed to a change of route to include Dragonara and Cabrera Islands, although the wind direction was not ideal. The forecast winds were due to be starting in the S/SW quarter then moving round through N to E at the end of the week. They were also forecast to be light so we anticipated motoring most of the time but apart from the first day with only a brief sail we had some exciting sailing. In the end we only used the engine for 10 hours, costing €69 in fuel. We eventually found the local English weather forecast on Ch 10.
Victualling was done close to the marina and wheeled round by the staff. We only needed a few top ups during the week but this included essentials such as more gin. The briefing was split between late Sat afternoon and Sunday morning so it was approaching midday before we left Palma harbour with its luxury yachts and cruise ships.
We motored westward rounding two capes until we pulled in under Cabo Raco for a swim and late lunch. As we left the wind picked up and we had a good sail but as the skipper had predicted the anchorages were tricky apart from Andraitx. We attempted an anchorage under the Dragonara cliffs but finally conceded to discretion not valour and tied up on a mooring buoy outside Andraix harbour and after swift drinks headed for food on shore. During the night the swell increased and some crew bemoaned the fact they had nobody to roll against. The others being closely packed like the local anchovies had no such complaints.
The following day we rounded Dragonara, admiring the sheer cliffs and battlements in the company of a large flock of s. Most of the day until late afternoon was spent on the NW coast looking for a swim and food spot. The navigator had hoped for a safe anchorage but was distracted by two headlands which had only 1 letter difference in their long name but eventually honour was saved by a lovely anchorage at Estellencs. On the return sail to Andraitx, Dragonara lived up to its name giving some crew many opportunities to let their imaginations run free whilst others watched the wind gusts increasing to F6 and the speedo reaching 8.1knts.despite the small genoa. That evening there was a space on the harbour wall for stern to mooring on anchor. The cost was only just over €1 more (€24) than the mooring buoy this time including water and electricity and much less swell. As the drinks came out the lights of the harbour came on and we had the feeling this was an early Christmas lights trip for which Phil is well known!
The following day the SW F5/6 wind gave us a broad reach across the bay to La Rapita where the view was of toilets and a high concrete breakwater costing E80.And no Christmas lights.
Some members of the crew fancied some time on Isla Cabrera, a natural park island where mooring buoys have to be reserved beforehand. Not having done this we chanced our arm anticipating it being quiet at this time of year. Isola Caragol was identified as our port of refuge if necessary, facing SW as the wind had now picked up from the ENE. Again an excellent sail took the estimated 2½ hours so after a quick lunch 3 of us were dinghyed ashore.
We arrived just as the NP office was closing for lunch but persuaded the staff to try and book us in as there was 1 buoy of the requisite size still free. But we needed skipper’s papers and he was on the boat with intermittent phone reception. They hung on until we got the papers then we found we could only use a credit card to pay. They agree to meet us after they had eaten and try and book the place, using one of their credit cards and we would give them cash. By then we were timed out on the computer and no spaces showing. Again they agreed to give up their afternoon siesta and soon after 4 we had the necessary permit! All well beyond the call of duty especially on a hot Mallorcan afternoon!
Cabrera (goat in Spanish) is wild and scrubby, now with no goats in sight but interesting birds and wild life as well as historical and archaeological sites. Swimming soon soothed the jangled nerves and as there are no facilities apart from a small bar the night was starry and peaceful.
Next day we were back towards the mainland in a ENE wind gusting 26knts.Initially we tried to go round the island but it was very choppy and going to add to an already long day. We were heading for El Arenal, another expensive concrete marina but as we approached we spotted some mooring buoys off Cala Blava, shelterd by the cliffs. We circled the buoys to check the size of boat that could safely moor before tucking in for the night. The Cala was edged with expensive glass fronted houses and one of our crew spotted some photographic activity going on. Hoping for scenes from a blue movie, the binns revealed a fashion photo shoot, the only blue thing was the sweater the model was wearing! Sadly the only restaurant was closed so tinned tuna was the menu of refuge! A cheap night all round.
We had been warned the fuel berth would be busy for our anticipated return to Palma by between 1600and1700. We chose instead to sail and motor over to Puerto Portals just about 4 miles W of Palma. The marineros were sorting out super yachts so we had time to do some yachty porn viewing of beautiful, traditional style boats such as Gala of Stockholm. Nobody was around to ask if they needed any new best friends! After filling up we had a delightful swim and lunch in nearby Las Illietes before leaving under sail for a brisk trip back to the harbour.
In all we sailed about 150nm. Thanks to Phil for skippering and the rest of the crew for the nav and the tasty meals.